Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: Beat the heat with homemade fruit pops!

Families in a park.

Looking to stay cool during your next summer picnic, event, or festival? Try making your own popsicles!

Much of northern B.C. has been enjoying some beautiful weather these past few weeks. I have been loving relaxing in the sun, reading a book or listening to music.

I recently attended the Edge of the World Music Festival on Haida Gwaii. It was a beautiful hot and sunny day with not a cloud in sight; a perfect day to lay out a blanket and chill out while listening to some great music.

I was overjoyed by the nice weather, but I quickly realized I would not be able to enjoy the music without something to keep me cool. Ice pops to the rescue!

When I was a kid, I remember my mom making homemade ice pops in plastic molds. At the festival, I was delighted to find someone selling homemade ice pops like the ones my mom used to make. It was just what I needed.

Since then, I purchased my own ice pop moulds and have started experimenting with different flavours. One of my favourites so far is this recipe for watermelon mint popsicles. They taste delicious and fresh and are a smart alternative to many store-bought ice pops that are high in sugar. A quick scan online shows that many popular ice pop brands have two to four teaspoons of added sugar per serving!

Watermelon slice

Sarah is a fan of watermelon-mint popsicles. What combinations will you try?

Watermelon mint popsicles

Recipe adapted from Zoku.

Don’t have moulds? Ice cube trays and cut pieces of firm straws can do the trick!


  • 12 oz (about 3½ cups) seeded, cubed fresh watermelon
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • Sweetener of choice (optional – if your watermelon is sweet, you won’t need to add sweetener. If you want a sweeter base, simply add a little sweetener to taste.)


  1. Make the watermelon base: In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.
  2. Assemble popsicles: Insert sticks and pour the watermelon base until almost full. Let freeze completely, then remove the pops and enjoy.

If you enjoy these, start experimenting with different fruit combinations or try using various types of milk as the liquid base. One of my favourite flavour combinations is coconut milk and pineapple. Last year, Amy showed us her strawberry-coconut variety! What combinations will you try?

Sarah Anstey

About Sarah Anstey

Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sarah moved to Prince George in 2013 to pursue her career as a Registered Dietitian. Since then, she has enjoyed developing her skills as a Clinical Dietitian with Northern Health, doing her part to help the people of northern B.C. live healthy and happy lives. Sarah looks at her move to Prince George as an opportunity to travel and explore a part of Canada that is new to her, taking in all that B.C. has to offer.


Tales from the Man Cave: It’s time to slow things down!

Winter road in northern B.C.

It has been a wild winter in northern B.C.! Snow, rain, ice pellets, beautiful sunshine, bitter cold, and more – sometimes in the same week! With so many different conditions changing so quickly, it is important to match your speed to the road conditions! (Picture by Northern Health staff member Shellie O’Brien)

Lately, I’ve noticed that despite the snow and ice we’ve been seeing across the north, people are still driving too fast! It’s time to slow down!

Two years ago on the way to my son’s birthday lunch downtown, I was forced off of the road by two logging trucks. I was behind one of the trucks when the other decided to overtake me on a bend. That truck caused a white-out condition which caused me to lose control and go for a serious spin. I had to write off my van.

Amazingly, the truck drivers were so pressed for time that they never even acknowledged my dilemma and just kept going.

I can tell you that for me and my daughter, this was a very distressing event. I also remember that the slide really felt like it was in slow motion. All we could do was look at each other and pray. Luckily we came to a halt on the centre of the road several metres downhill and walked away from it.

Judging by the speed of the vehicles whizzing past me on icy roads, it seems like we are a people of faith – we really must believe in the ability of our tires to work miracles.

We keep being told to reduce our speed and that speed kills, but no one seems to be listening. Well, perhaps we listen for a week but then it’s rush here and rush there again, with our speed gradually creeping up.

Of course, as the saying goes, I am probably preaching to the choir but sometimes even the choir needs a reminder to stay in tune.

Please keep an eye on your speed to match road conditions. The vehicles in ditches should serve as reminders that the roads are not that good and that our tires may not be the only factor!

Slow down, won’t you! It’s a short life as it is.

Find more winter driving tips at WorkSafeBC.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.